Mission Aviation Fellowship Has Flown a Long Way Since Their First Airplane

In 1944 a World War II pilot decided to start a missionary aviation organization.  A 1953 Red Waco Biplane is purchased and Betty Greene flies it to a jungle location in Mexico.  In 1954 a Piper Pacer is equipped with floats and begins work in New Guinea planting the seeds for what is now Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).  Last year MAF  flew 2.7 million miles, completed 36,000 flights, transported over 120,000 passengers, and delivered 10.3 million pounds of cargo all on nearly 1,700 rough, unimproved dirt and grass airstrips as well as waterways. In the past 12 months, MAF planes saved workers more than 63,000 days of travel time, over 260 work years.
In June MAF brought their new Kodiak, Single Engine Turbo Prop to Redlands (KREI) to show it off before it heads to Indonesia. A fleet of these specially built craft has been ordered from Quest aircraft and will be delivered in stages to their destinations all over the world.
The following excerpts are from the journals of a former MAF pilot, Sandy Toomer while flying in Shell, Ecuador, that gives insight into what our day would be like if we were ever to take the controls of one of these bush planes.
“My typical day has me come to the hangar with the rest of the gang at 8 AM for prayer and a rundown of the day’s schedule both in flight and maintenance.
Rain is a constant companion here where we receive more than 22 feet of it annually.
“Capitán there’s a snake bite patient in Molino. As soon as the weather breaks we’ll send you out. It’s a small boy…he was bitten in the face…yesterday.”(Molino: Less than 500 meters, uphill, one way.)
After landing on the gooey surface I can see it is bad. His head has swollen to the size of a soccer ball and his breathing is labored as his mouth and likely his throat are closing off. I customarily shake hands with as many people as I can then load the boy and his mom on board my 206 for the flight back to Shell.

By 2 PM I finish up and I’m ready to leave Makuma for another five landings and take-offs to pick up more medical emergencies and run them over to a jungle hospital operated by the Ecuadorian government, in Taisha.

By 5 PM, I depart Taisha still with one last stop. Go by San Carlos and pick up a carpenter, his crew and tools. They have been building a new school building in the village. From San Carlos we’ll head back to Shell.

As I get closer to Shell it indeed looks dark, very dark, dreary and gray. The approach controller is still calling the visibility better than 10 kilometers (VFR here) however with rain to the north of the airport, moving closer.
Switching gears, I pull out the instrument approach plate and give it the once over like a hundred times before. The primary approach we use into Shell is a VOR/DME Arc beginning 8 kilometers out. However we also have another straight-in VOR/DME approach and of course what would life be without one of those wond

erful NDB approaches, the epitome of “non-precision”.
Once I’m on the radial, I strain through the rain and haze then finally see runway three-zero ahead and call “Runway in sight”. Within three minutes I taxi up to the large Shell hangar just as the bottom drops out.

It’s nearly 6 PM. After twelve landings, 3.5 hours of Tach-time, forty minutes of actual instrument conditions and an approach to minimums my day is done. Hey, and it’s just Monday!”
For more information on what is required to fly for Mission Aviation Fellowship or to find out how you can be part of the solution in some other way, log onto


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